AI will revolutionize building construction

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The application of artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize the hands-on construction industry and contribute to long-term environmental sustainability in our built environment.

A literature review by the Urban AI Hub at QUT's School of Architecture and Built Environment's City 4.0 Lab found that its implementation would contribute to several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including clean energy, sustainable cities and climate action.

Massimo Legona, lead author and postdoctoral researcher on the study, who worked with Professor Tan Yigitkanlar, Dr Carol Hong and Dr Melissa Teo, said the construction industry was “one of the major sources of pollution” in Australia.

“However, there is a great deal of effort being made across the industry to align with sustainability principles by adopting green building standards, using sustainable materials and employing innovative technologies,” he said.

The study analyzed 91 publications – 78 percent of which were published in the past three years, indicating growing interest – to explore how AI can be integrated across key project phases to increase sustainability.

Across the SDGs relevant to the industry, research suggests that AI can optimize energy use in building designs through predictive modelling and energy simulation, while promoting sustainable consumption and production practices by optimising resource use and waste reduction.

Its use can also improve supply chain efficiency, labour productivity and stakeholder engagement, potentially contributing to the achievement of broader sustainability goals.

Additionally, it was shown that AI-driven technologies such as machine learning and natural language processing can improve sustainability data collection and analysis, enabling proactive responses to emerging issues.

In an increasingly digital world, construction remains largely manual and low-tech, and while AI is being increasingly adopted on the job site, a lack of expertise, cost concerns and the industry's traditional reliance on human labor limit its application, Legona said.

“There is growing interest in using AI to optimise the construction phase through site inspections, predictive analytics, automation and smart construction materials,” he said.

“Some companies are realizing that these innovations have the potential to transform traditional practices into more efficient and sustainable ways of doing things.”

Speaking about effective implementation, Professor Yigitkanlar said future efforts should first prioritize understanding the challenges that construction companies, especially small and medium-sized ones, face when implementing AI into their operations.

“By addressing these barriers, the industry can become significantly more sustainable and efficient.

“This includes addressing important data privacy and ethical considerations to ensure responsible and safe AI adoption. Additionally, fostering multidisciplinary collaboration between industry experts, AI researchers and policymakers is essential to drive innovation and develop comprehensive solutions. By focusing on these areas, the construction industry can harness the full potential of AI to foster sustainable development and improve overall project outcomes.”

The study was conducted by the City 4.0 Lab, which conducts interdisciplinary research to inform industry practices, community programs, government policies and goals for productive, sustainable and healthy urban living.

/University release. This material from the originating organization/author may be out of date and has been edited for clarity, style and length. Mirage.News does not take any organizational stance or position, and all views, positions and conclusions expressed here are solely those of the authors. Read the full article here.

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